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A guide to the best places to run in Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver, Canada, is known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor opportunities. Whether you’re a dedicated runner or simply looking to stay active while enjoying breathtaking views, the city offers a variety of fantastic running locations. Here’s a guide to the best places to run in Vancouver:
Stanley Park Seawall: Stanley Park is a must-visit destination for any runner in Vancouver. The famous Seawall is a 9-kilometre (5.6-mile) scenic pathway that encircles the park, offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Lions Gate Bridge, and downtown Vancouver. The flat and well-paved surface makes it ideal for all fitness levels.
False Creek: The False Creek area offers a beautiful waterfront running route with diverse scenery. The seawall loop around False Creek stretches approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) and offers views of Granville Island, Science World, Olympic Village and the Yaletown neighborhood.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park: If you prefer a more secluded and serene running experience, head to Pacific Spirit Park, located near the University of British Columbia (UBC). The park boasts an extensive network of trails through lush forests, making it a perfect spot for trail runners and nature enthusiasts.
Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach: Run along the shoreline from Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach, enjoying the sandy stretches and stunning ocean views. This route is approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) long and offers several parks and open spaces along the way.
Grouse Mountain: For a challenging trail run, venture to Grouse Mountain. The Grouse Grind, also known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” is a steep 2.9-kilometre (1.8-mile) trail with an elevation gain of 853 metres (2,800 feet). At the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
West Vancouver Seawall: Head to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver and follow the seawall along the waterfront. This 5-kilometre (3.1-mile) route offers breathtaking views of Burrard Inlet and the city skyline.
Queen Elizabeth Park: Enjoy running amidst beautifully landscaped gardens and vibrant flower displays at Queen Elizabeth Park. The park features both paved and gravel paths, providing a variety of running options.
Burnaby Lake Regional Park: Located east of Vancouver, Burnaby Lake offers a tranquil setting for runners. The 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) loop around the lake is mostly flat and showcases the area’s natural wildlife and birdwatching opportunities.
Deer Lake Park: Located in Burnaby, Deer Lake Park offers a picturesque setting for runners. The 5-kilometre (3.1-mile) loop around the lake takes you through peaceful wooded areas, along the water’s edge, and past beautiful gardens. The flat and well-maintained path makes it an enjoyable route for runners of all levels.
English Bay and Sunset Beach: Enjoy the coastal atmosphere along English Bay and Sunset Beach. This route is perfect for a leisurely run and offers beautiful views of the ocean and the city’s skyline.
Remember to stay hydrated during your runs, especially in the warmer months, and respect the rules and guidelines of each running location. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner, Vancouver’s diverse running spots have something to offer for everyone. Happy running!
10 things to keep in mind when planning a run
When planning a run, there are several essential factors to consider to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and successful experience. Here are 10 things to keep in mind when planning your run:
Know your fitness level: Choose a route that matches your current fitness level and running abilities. If you’re a beginner, start with shorter and easier routes, gradually increasing distance and difficulty as you progress.
Set a goal: Determine the purpose of your run, whether it’s for leisure, training, or achieving a specific distance or time goal. Having a clear objective will help you stay motivated and focused during your run.
Check the weather: Always check the weather forecast before heading out. Dress appropriately for the conditions to ensure you stay comfortable and safe during your run.
Plan your route: Choose a route that suits your preferences and objectives. Consider factors such as terrain, elevation, traffic, and scenery. Familiarize yourself with the route to avoid getting lost.
Safety first: Prioritize safety at all times. Opt for well-lit and well-populated areas, especially if running in the early morning or evening. Avoid high-traffic roads and use designated running trails when possible.
Hydration and nutrition: Stay properly hydrated before, during, and after your run. Carry a water bottle if necessary, especially on longer runs. Fuel up with a light snack before heading out, and consider bringing energy gels or snacks for longer runs.
Dress appropriately: Wear moisture-wicking and breathable clothing suitable for the weather conditions. Choose comfortable, supportive running shoes that are appropriate for your foot type and running style.
Warm-up and cool-down: Prior to your run, perform a dynamic warm-up to prepare your muscles and prevent injuries. After your run, do some static stretching to help with muscle recovery.
Carry essentials: If needed, carry a phone for emergencies, some cash, or a credit card. If you’re going for a long run or running in a remote area, consider bringing identification and any necessary medical information.
Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body feels during the run. If you experience pain or discomfort, consider taking a break or modifying your route. Don’t push yourself too hard and allow for proper rest and recovery between runs.
By keeping these important factors in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a successful and enjoyable running experience while minimizing potential risks and obstacles. Happy running!
Most scenic run spots in Vancouver, BC
Vancouver, BC, is blessed with stunning natural beauty, and there are several scenic spots perfect for a memorable run. Here are some of the most picturesque and scenic run spots in Vancouver:
Stanley Park Seawall: The iconic Stanley Park Seawall offers breathtaking views of the ocean, mountains, and the city skyline. This 9-kilometer (5.6-mile) path is flat, well-paved, and surrounded by lush greenery, making it a favorite for both locals and visitors.
False Creek: Running along the False Creek seawall provides stunning vistas of the water, marinas, and charming neighborhoods. This 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) loop takes you past Granville Island, Science World, and the scenic Yaletown area.
English Bay and Sunset Beach: Enjoy a run along the sandy shoreline of English Bay and Sunset Beach. The ocean views, palm trees, and beautiful sunsets create a serene and picturesque atmosphere.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park: If you prefer a more forested and tranquil setting, head to Pacific Spirit Park. The park’s numerous trails wind through a lush, old-growth forest, providing a serene escape within the city.
Queen Elizabeth Park: With its stunning gardens, vibrant flowers, and the Bloedel Conservatory, Queen Elizabeth Park offers a beautiful backdrop for a leisurely run. The rolling hills add some challenge to your route.
VanDusen Botanical Garden: Run through VanDusen’s picturesque garden paths, showcasing an impressive collection of plants from around the world. The garden’s serene ambiance provides a peaceful running experience.
Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach: This scenic route along the shoreline offers sweeping views of the ocean, mountains, and the city. The sandy beaches and seaside parks add to the area’s natural beauty.
Lighthouse Park: Located in West Vancouver, Lighthouse Park offers rugged coastal trails with stunning ocean vistas. The rugged terrain and rocky shores make for a more adventurous trail running experience.
Deer Lake Park: Run around the picturesque Deer Lake, surrounded by beautiful gardens, walking trails, and water views. The peaceful setting makes it an excellent spot for a relaxing run.
Quarry Rock in Deep Cove: Although a bit outside of downtown Vancouver, Quarry Rock provides an enchanting forest trail leading to a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the Indian Arm. The reward is well worth the effort.
Each of these scenic run spots in Vancouver offers a unique experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the city’s natural beauty while staying active and fit. Don’t forget to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the picturesque views along the way!
Popular running trails in Vancouver, BC
Vancouver, BC, offers numerous popular running trails that cater to different preferences and fitness levels. Here are some of the best trails inside Stanley Park and additional running trails in Vancouver:
Stanley Park Trails: Inside Stanley Park, you can explore a network of scenic running trails, such as the Stanley Park Inner and Outer Loop Trails, which wind through lush forests and offer glimpses of the ocean and city. The Prospect Point Trail is another great option, leading to stunning viewpoints overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge and Burrard Inlet.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park: Located near UBC, Pacific Spirit Park offers an extensive system of trails through old-growth forests. The Salish Trail and the Ancient Forest Trail are popular choices, providing a peaceful and immersive running experience.
Burnaby Lake Regional Park: Just east of Vancouver, Burnaby Lake features a 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) loop trail around the lake. The flat terrain and serene surroundings make it an excellent spot for a relaxing run.
Capilano Pacific Trail: This trail follows the Capilano River and offers scenic views of the river and the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge. The trail is a great option for those seeking a combination of nature and adventure. A portion of this trail is currently closed. Please check online for detours and/or update.s
Lynn Canyon Park: Lynn Canyon offers various trails, including the Baden-Powell Trail and the Twin Falls Loop, which lead to the picturesque Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and breathtaking waterfalls.
Quarry Rock in Deep Cove: Although a bit outside Vancouver, this trail is worth mentioning for its stunning views. The Quarry Rock Trail takes you through lush forests to a viewpoint overlooking the Indian Arm.
Central Valley Greenway: This trail stretches from Vancouver to New Westminster and is ideal for long-distance runners. It passes through urban and suburban areas, providing a mix of cityscapes and natural surroundings.
Deer Lake Park: The trails around Deer Lake offer a tranquil and picturesque setting. You can choose from various paths to customize your run based on distance and terrain preferences.
Grouse Mountain: For a challenging trail run, take on the Grouse Grind, also known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” This steep trail rewards you with stunning views from the top of Grouse Mountain.
Trout Lake: Located in East Vancouver, Trout Lake features a 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) loop trail around the lake, providing a serene escape within the city.
Remember to check trail conditions, dress appropriately, and bring water and essentials for a safe and enjoyable running experience. Happy running in Vancouver’s scenic trails!
Best Places to gain elevation in Vancouver, BC
If you’re looking to gain elevation and challenge yourself with some uphill running or hiking in Vancouver, BC, there are several great locations to consider. Here are the best places to gain elevation in Vancouver:
Grouse Mountain: The Grouse Grind, also known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” is a popular trail that takes you from the base of Grouse Mountain to the summit. The trail is steep, with an elevation gain of 853 metres (2,800 feet) over 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles). At the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Crown Mountain: The hike to Crown Mountain offers a challenging climb with rewarding views. The trail starts at Grouse Mountain and continues along the challenging Hanes Valley route to Crown Pass. The final ascent to Crown Mountain’s summit is a thrilling scramble, providing stunning vistas.
Mount Seymour: The Mount Seymour area offers various trails with significant elevation gains. The Seymour Mountain Trail and the Mount Elsay Trail are popular choices for hikers and trail runners seeking a challenging climb and breathtaking views.
Cypress Mountain: Cypress Mountain has several trails that provide excellent elevation gain opportunities. The Howe Sound Crest Trail is a multi-day backcountry hike with impressive elevation changes and stunning scenery.
Lynn Headwaters Regional Park: This park offers a network of trails with varying levels of difficulty. The Lynn Peak Trail is a challenging route that rewards you with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and Vancouver.
Mount Fromme: Located on the North Shore, Mount Fromme offers a range of mountain biking and hiking trails with various elevation gains. The Grouse Mountain to Fromme Mountain hike is a challenging and scenic route.
Seymour Demonstration Forest: This area has several trails with varying degrees of elevation gain. The Fisherman’s Trail and the Homestead Trail are popular choices for those seeking a more moderate climb.
Before embarking on any hike or run, make sure you’re adequately prepared with proper gear, sufficient water, and knowledge of the trail’s difficulty. Additionally, inform someone about your plans and expected return time, especially if you’re hiking alone. Safety should always be a priority when venturing into the mountains.
10 popular places to run in Vancouver, BC
Vancouver, BC, is a city that boasts an exceptional blend of urban amenities and breathtaking natural beauty. Known for its lush parks, stunning waterfronts, and majestic mountains, Vancouver spoils its residents and visitors with a plethora of picturesque places to explore. From iconic trails that encircle Stanley Park to challenging uphill runs on Grouse Mountain, and serene lakeside routes, Vancouver offers something for every type of runner.
Stanley Park Seawall: This iconic 9-kilometre (5.6-mile) paved path circles the perimeter of Stanley Park, offering stunning views of the ocean, mountains, and the city skyline.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park: Located near the University of British Columbia (UBC), this park features a network of scenic trails through lush forests, making it perfect for trail running.
False Creek: While not a trail, the False Creek area offers a picturesque waterfront route with stunning views of the city, marinas, and vibrant neighborhoods, making it popular for running.
Burnaby Lake Regional Park: This park features a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) loop around the lake with flat terrain and serene surroundings, providing a peaceful running experience.
Grouse Grind: For a challenging uphill run, tackle the Grouse Grind on Grouse Mountain. This steep 2.9-kilometre (1.8-mile) trail gains 853 metres (2,800 feet) in elevation, rewarding you with panoramic city views at the top.
Deer Lake Park: Run around Deer Lake, surrounded by beautiful gardens and walking trails. The tranquil setting makes it a popular spot for a leisurely run.
Lynn Canyon Park: This park offers various trails, including the Baden-Powell Trail and the Twin Falls Loop, leading to the famous Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and breathtaking waterfalls.
Trout Lake: Located in East Vancouver, Trout Lake features a 1.8-kilometre (1.1-mile) loop trail around the lake, providing a peaceful escape within the city.
Central Valley Greenway: This 28-kilometre (17.4-mile) stretch of interconnected paths runs from Vancouver to New Westminster, offering urban and suburban landscapes for long-distance runners.
Capilano Pacific Trail: This scenic trail follows the Capilano River and offers beautiful views of the river and the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge.
These popular running spots in Vancouver showcase the city’s natural beauty and offer a variety of options for runners of all levels to enjoy their favorite activity in picturesque settings.
Best places to train for the BMO Vancouver Marathon
Training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon requires a well-rounded approach that includes long runs, hill training, and opportunities to simulate race conditions. Here are some of the best places to train for the BMO Vancouver Marathon:
Stanley Park Seawall: The Stanley Park Seawall offers a scenic and flat route, making it an ideal spot for longer training runs. You can cover a significant distance while enjoying stunning views of the ocean and city.
Pacific Spirit Regional Park: For trail runners, Pacific Spirit Park provides a network of forested trails with varying terrain, perfect for building strength and endurance.
Grouse Mountain: The Grouse Grind is an essential training spot for marathoners seeking to tackle uphill sections. Repeated climbs on this steep trail will help you build strength and mental toughness.
Seaside Greenway: The Seaside Greenway is a continuous pathway that stretches from Coal Harbour to Kitsilano, offering a flat, scenic, and long route for marathon training.
UBC Endowment Lands: The trails and hills in the UBC Endowment Lands provide excellent opportunities for both trail running and hill training.
Queen Elizabeth Park: This park features a mix of flat and hilly terrain, making it suitable for varied workouts. The views from the top are also a great reward after a challenging run.
Lynn Canyon Park: The challenging trails and elevation gains in Lynn Canyon Park will help you prepare for the demands of the marathon course.
Central Valley Greenway: This 28-kilometer (17.4-mile) greenway connects Vancouver to New Westminster, providing a long and varied route for marathon training.
Fraser River Trail: The flat and scenic Fraser River Trail is a great option for recovery runs or shorter training sessions.
Community Running Tracks: Several running tracks in Vancouver, such as the ones at Empire Field and Point Grey Secondary School, offer opportunities for speed work and interval training.
Remember to vary your training runs, incorporate rest days, and gradually increase your mileage to prevent injuries and ensure you’re adequately prepared for the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Additionally, consider joining local running groups or seeking guidance from experienced coaches to optimize your training plan. Good luck in your marathon preparation!